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Your Weekly Digest | Issue 11/2022

Valur Thrainsson
7 min read

Welcome to CompetitionFeed, a weekly newsletter with the most recent and relevant competition and anti-trust news, blogs and journal publications. Never miss an update. If you’d like to receive issues over email, you can sign-up here

A Democratic vacancy on the Federal Trade Commission leaves Chair Lina Khan without the votes she would need to sue to block the online giant's acquisition of the movie studio. Read more.
Two Democratic lawmakers introduced a new bill on Wednesday that would institute a host of new regulations to scrutinize mergers, including a prohibition of those valued at more than $5 billion. The Prohibiting Anticompetitive Mergers Act, sponsored by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.), would also prevent mergers and acquisitions that would increase market share among sellers and buyers beyond certain thresholds and would give regulators additional tools to unwind mergers. Read more.
The European Commission aims to clinch a fast-tracked deal with EU lawmakers and countries by the end of March on new rules to rein in the powers of Alphabet's Google, Amazon , Apple , Facebook and Microsoft , Europe's antitrust chief said on Wednesday. Read more.
Teams of Greece’s competition authority have been conducting unannounced inspections in the offices of several construction companies in Attica on Wednesday, as part of an investigation into joint ownerships in the construction sector. Read more. Inc. must face consumer antitrust litigation challenging “most favored nation"-style policies that have allegedly driven up the prices of “virtually all products offered for sale” online in the U.S., a federal judge in Seattle ruled. Read more.
Norway’s DNB, the country’s largest bank, will be allowed to acquire online rival Sbanken, the Norwegian Competition Tribunal (NCT) ruled on Wednesday, overturning an earlier ban. The Norwegian Competition Authority (NCA) had sought to block the proposed 11.1 billion Norwegian crowns ($1.24 billion) deal- The regulator argued that the deal would hurt customers in the mutual fund market by  leading to higher prices for consumers who invest in such funds. Read more
The Competition Commission (the Commission) has referred to the Competition Tribunal for prosecution the social media giant, Meta Platforms Inc (previously known as Facebook Inc), and its subsidiaries, WhatsApp Inc and Facebook South Africa (collectively referred to as Facebook) for abuse of dominance. Read more.

On 15 March 2022, the European Commission has conducted unannounced inspections at the premises of companies and associations active in the automotive sector located in several Member States. In parallel, the Commission has sent out formal requests for information to several companies active in the automotive sector. Read more.
The European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation to assess whether an agreement between Google and Meta (formerly Facebook) for online display advertising services may have breached EU competition rules. Read more.
Environmental sustainability is an issue of critical importance and considerable urgency. The discussions at last year’s UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26, held in Glasgow) underlined the scale of the challenge facing humanity, and the need for everybody to play their part. Read more.
Grant Murray
The Commission’s draft chapter on sustainability cooperation may surprise even those following the debate about EU antitrust policy and sustainability closely. A more worldly approach to benefits, a new and useful tailored safe harbour for sustainability standards, plus a good first attempt to keep sustainability cooperation out of Article 101.1 (or at least the ‘by... Read more.
Damien Geradin
In August 2021, the Autoriteit Consument & Markt (“ACM”), the Dutch competition authority, adopted following a two-year investigation, a decision finding that Apple’s App Store payment policies as they applied to dating app providers amounted to an abuse of a dominant position in breach of Article 102 TFEU. As explained in an earlier blog post, Apple then sought an injunction before the Rotterdam District Court to block the publication of the decision, as well as suspend its effects until all appeals on substance have been exhausted. The ability of a party to seek such an injunction is quite unique to the Netherlands (and I don’t think it serves any valuable purpose). In other jurisdictions, once a decision has been adopted, it is automatically published and produces immediate effects as appeals are not suspensive. Read more.
Alden Abbott, former general counsel of the FTC, argues that, contrary to claims made in a recent ProMarket article, American competition is vibrant and robust. He says that a sudden change toward significantly more intrusive antitrust enforcement, far from strengthening the economy, would likely inject unwarranted uncertainty into business planning.  In a recent article, Leah Samuel... Read more.
Wouter P. J. Wils
This paper provides a systematic overview of the procedural rights and obligations of third parties in investigations and proceedings conducted by the European Commission for the enforcement of Articles 101 and 102 TFEU. Third parties are all natural or legal persons, undertakings and associations of undertakings other than those under investigation. The paper examines the possibilities for third parties to inform the European Commission about a suspected infringement and to trigger an investigation by the European Commission; the obligations and rights of third parties when responding to requests for information sent to them by the European Commission, when participating in interviews, and when submitting to inspections conducted by the European Commission; the possibilities for third parties to obtain information about pending proceedings and to express their views in them; the rules on the use of languages; and the protection of business secrets and other confidential information, and the restrictions on the use of information obtained by third parties through their participation in the European Commission’s proceedings. Read more.
Nicolas Petit and Thibault Schrepel
Complexity science is widely used across the policy spectrum but not in antitrust. This is unfortunate. Complexity science enables a rich understanding of competition beyond the simplistic descriptions of markets and firms proposed by neoclassical models and their contemporary neo-Brandeisian critique. Many novel insights can be gained by supporting more openness to some of its key teachings, like feedback loops and the role of uncertainty. The present article lays down the building blocks of a complexity-minded antitrust method. Read more.
Tomaso Duso, Mattia Nardotto and Alexander Schiersch
We study the impact of broadband availability on firms’ total factor productivity (TFP) using German firm-level data between 2010 and 2015. We adopt a control function approach to causally identify and separately estimate productivity for 46 two-digit manufacturing and service sectors. Over the sample period, broadband availability, measured by 16 Mbps transmission rates, more than doubled in German municipalities. While this increased broadband availability has almost no effect on firms’ productivity in manufacturing, it significantly increases TFP in most service sectors. Yet, the size of the effect is heterogenous across industries. Read more.
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Kind regards, Valur Þráinsson, Founder of Email:
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